ROUND ROCK, Texas – The following statement was issued by Smoke-Free Round Rock, a coalition of leading health organizations and concerned citizens:
“We are disappointed the Round Rock City Council voted last Thursday to preserve a smoking exemption for certain businesses, continuing to expose workers and patrons to deadly secondhand smoke. The council’s decision means businesses play by two sets of rules when it comes to smoke-free environments.
“Round Rock’s leadership failed in its task to protect public health and safety by leaving a loophole for bars to allow smoking indoors. It shouldn’t matter if you work at a bar or a bank — no employee should have to breathe deadly secondhand smoke to earn their paycheck.
“The city’s ordinance is out of step with current standards that prohibit smoking in all indoor workplaces and simply ask those who smoke to step outside, without exception. While 100 Texas cities, including Austin and Waco, have recognized the public health dangers of tobacco and enacted comprehensive smoke-free ordinances, Round Rock has gone in the wrong direction. Its citizens deserve better.
“We appreciate Mayor Craig Morgan’s support and continued leadership on this issue, which highlights his commitment to the health and well-being of Round Rock residents.
“It is extremely unfortunate that residents do not yet have the freedom to enjoy an evening out without worrying whether they can breathe easily. The Smoke-Free Texas coalition and the residents of Round Rock will continue to work with the community and City Council to include all indoor workplaces in our city’s smoke-free ordinance, because every Texan deserves the right to breathe clean air. Residents can help our efforts by contacting the City Council to voice their support for a comprehensive ordinance that will protect all workers from toxic exposure to secondhand smoke.”